About Dofollow and Nofollow Links

If you’re getting into building backlinks for your website, one of the most interesting places to start is dofollow and nofollow links. Knowing whether links are nofollow or dofollow is really useful for SEO, as dofollow are much more useful than nofollow.


If you are a user of Google Chrome, you can pick up a backlink checker from the web store. These kinds of browser extensions are a quick and easy way to find dofollow, nofollow and broken links, and one of the fastest ways you can increase the power of your site reliably on the internet.


What Are Dofollow Links?


Dofollow links are backlinks that support your website when they are scanned by Google. They are a referential type of backlink that will benefit your site and endorse it when it comes to ranking on search engines.


So What Are Nofollow Links?


Nofollow links are different from dofollow, because they are links that have an HTML tag applied to them. This tag looks like this: <a rel=”nofollow” …> What this does is mark the link so that your website is not actively endorsing the link when it is scanned by crawlers. 


Most of the links on sites like Wikipedia, Facebook and many high ranking websites on the internet use automatic nofollow links for their users.


Most users will be unable to notice or understand the difference between dofollow and nofollow links and will most likely be completely unaware of their existence. 


SEO, Dofollow and Nofollow


When it comes to getting your website ranked online, there’s an astounding difference between the dofollow links and nofollow links. Dofollow links are amazing for helping your search engine ranking. Nofollow links are debatable. 


The majority of search engines use dofollow links as an endorsement of content, so when I reference content in my blogs, and link back to it, these dofollow links will benefit the people I am endorsing.


For example, Fantasoft is my marketing company. This link from SECT.NEWS is useful to me as it is a positive referential link that says to Google and other search engines that I endorse the content on Fantasoft enough to write about it. They are also getting a positive link from me here. Search engines will only really value dofollow links when ranking your website.


So Why Do Dofollow and Nofollow Links Exist?


Once Google and other search engines started using backlinks as a way of measuring the value of websites, a pattern emerged of people utilising blog comments to create networks of malicious backlinks to sites that weren’t worthy of being prioritised. This caused absolute chaos when it came to websites ranking on search engines worldwide.


The effect that occurred was that spammy websites which allowed anyone to post a comment full of backlinks would boost even poor quality and malicious websites above sites that actually had value on the net. 


As blogging started to take over and improve across the internet, so did spam, and eventually, with spammy sites ranking highly in Google, and kicking quality sites off the search engines, something had to be done, so in 2005, Google developed the nofollow tag, which helped to sort the problems out. Soon, other major search engines worldwide adapted and started using the nofollow tag.


Where Do You Find The Most Common Nofollow Links?


Most websites with blogs now automatically have the blog comments set to nofollow to stop the spam. You can occasionally find rare websites, blogs and forums that will allow dofollow links, but they’re not something to look out for as the chances of finding them are incredibly low, and they could change at the drop of a hat. 


Social media websites like Facebook keep a sharp control over their internal links. With an insanely high domain authority these sites could once again cause chaos if left unchecked, this could be mass exploited by bots. 


YouTube has internal linking set to nofollow to stop exploitation of mass video posting. With the ease of making and uploading videos, you can end up in hot water pretty soon!


News websites keep a solid control of their comments sections.


Wikipedia, Reddit, Medium, Quora and Twitch have also adopted the nofollow tag to prevent exploitation.


So Do Nofollow Links Have Any Impact On SEO?


There is considerable evidence to state that Nofollow links still have an impact on SEO. Different companies have analysed the effectiveness of Nofollow links with varying results across a wide variety of websites and platforms.


Some of the evidence available suggests that websites containing similarly linked information in combination with nofollow backlinks can lead to the backlinks having value as SEO, however constant and consistent changes in ranking algorithms may mean that a tactic that works today, may not work tomorrow. 


Nofollow links can bring social traffic into your site from websites like Facebook and YouTube, which can be monitored in Google Analytics, which to me suggests that if people find a specific nofollow link valuable, Google may for this reason classify that link as valuable. However theorycrafting around a subject that changes with the breeze is never a good thing. So Dofollow links are definitely the way to go if you want to ensure strong SEO link juice from websites. 


Can Nofollow Links Be Useful Even If They Don’t Directly Give Your Backlinks Power?


Yes. In many cases, when you comment on a blog with a backlink that’s relational and useful, and gives information, you may find that you start to get referenced by other websites. One Nofollow link posted could be reblogged out by three decent websites as a dofollow link. Sharing on Facebook can result in the same reaction from bloggers and businesses who want to share your information.


Nofollow links are still valuable and should be considered, but not as a source of direct SEO support for your website. It’s the results and placement of these links that will help increase power and add value. 


A Warning To The Curious


Beware of people who try and build backlink profiles for you. You will want to have access to a checker to ensure that they are building strong dofollow backlinks that will benefit you. Knowing the difference between dofollow and nofollow backlinks could mean you saving thousands of pounds on hiring the wrong experts.


I hope this helps!

Alex O’Neil

I am a blogger based in the UK. I work as an SEO specialist and Web Designer, and my hobbies include making small films and writing music.